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NY APSE held their conference this past month in Lake Placid NY. NY APSE has held a panel they refer to as “State of the State” for a few years now. This panel consists of State leaders who discuss plans for their department for the upcoming year. Please read Andy Sink’s summary and highlight of the panel below!! Nice Job NY APSE!- Macey Chovaz APSE Chapter Liaison.
From Andy Sink, NY APSE Co-President:
The 13th NYS APSE Supported Employment Training Institute was held in Lake Placid, NY this year. Over 250 of our friends and partners made the trip. We had possibly the best weather we have ever had for the event which makes being in NY’s High Peaks region even more striking. The event begins on Sunday night with dinner, followed by an ice-cream social, where Celebrity Scoopers serve Ben and Jerry’s. One of our annual awards is the “Scooper” award, a plaque that is presented to a partner that has done great work in improving employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This year’s winner was Ceylane Myers-Ruff and her team at NYS OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities).
The theme for this year’s event was “The Changing Face of Supported Employment.” While our field is often evolving, many recent changes have altered the way in which Supported Employment Services are regulated, funded, measured and practiced. While these shifts could have made for an anxious start to our gathering, providers, state partners, consumers and their families brought an intensely positive energy that was apparent from the start.
Sessions covered research, practice, management, initiatives, assistive technology and many other relevant topics. To see more details, go to www.nysapse.org where workshop materials will soon be available.
An annual highlight is our closing workshop, the State of the State, in which our state partners from the Office of Mental Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, and Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation have an opportunity to speak directly to the provider community on current issues, while providers have chance to ask questions.
Our panel consisted of Liam McNabb of OMH, Ceylane Myers-Ruff of OPWDD, and John Tracy of ACCES-VR. CBVH was unable to attend as they were celebrating a milestone anniversary, but were kind enough to send a statement that was read to attendees. At NYS APSE we pride ourselves on the ongoing and collaborative relationships we share not only with our provider, consumer and family communities, but with our state leaders. While the panel was perhaps the funniest in recent memory, the content was rich and informative.
All three panelists discussed ongoing initiatives and recent changes while addressing what they understood to be concerns among the APSE community. A common thread was clear as all three panelists discussed how they planned to implement the continued push for Employment First. OMH is currently assisting providers to ensure that the PROS Model (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services) utilizes IPS principles in order to make employment a priority. ACCES-VR contracts will be soon be based on a milestone system, beginning this October. While John could not discuss the contract, he made it clear that ACCES-VR is looking to increase employment outcomes across disability fields. Ceylane provided perhaps the most specific and dramatic information on changes within OPWDD, including the goal of increasing the numbers of individuals in competitive employment by 700 by 4/1/14.
As a board, we were very happy with the execution of another great NYS APSE event. As a provider, I went back to work with a renewed energy, purpose, and a few more tools in my toolbox. While the world of Supported Employment Changes, the principles that drive us do not. APSE will work diligently in the hopes that our efforts will continue to disrupt stigma and discrimination in the workplace while improving the lives of those we serve.
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